4 Ways to Support Someone With Depression

1. Be On Their Side

Depression is an awful illness, a whole world away from pure sympathy-seeking. So you should treat it as such by saying things like, “I trust you. If you had a choice in the matter you wouldn’t choose to have depression. How about we search for some solutions together?” “You seem to be finding this issue a big deal at the moment. Can we solve it together?” “We are a team. I’m on your side.”

2. Give Plenty of Reassurance

Many people suffering with depression feel unworthy of being loved. You need to reassure them frequently. For example “I love you for who you are. I’m not going to leave you “You’re a sensitive person who cares for others” or, “People really love you a lot. They think you’re a great person.”

3. Give Understanding and Sympathy

Try to sympathize by saying something like: “I can’t imagine how hard it is for you, but you have all my sympathy.” “All I want to do is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on.” “I can’t honestly say that I know how you feel, but I want to help in any way I can.”

4. Offer to Help

Don’t be offended if the reply is “Leave me alone.” Sometimes, that is the most helpful thing you can do at present. Well meaning people often attempt to fix the problem. They may say something like, “Have you tried aromatherapy? There was an article about it in the paper…” This kind of comment can come across as trivializing the illness. If you want to introduce a treatment idea, make sure you are respectful about the seriousness of depression. Perhaps you can say something like, “It’s important that you stay on your medication and keep seeing your doctor. I’ve found some information on aromatherapy. Would you like to look into it with me?”

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